Feature Friday Q&A with Jessica Kagan Cushman Studio

I was introduced to today's Feature Friday artist by a mutual friend through the wonder of Instagram.  And, I couldn't thank her enough!  This amazing artist is a woman after my own heart.  Her cheeky Nantucket bracelets feature amazing quotes for just that right bit of inspiration or a little quiet disobedience.  

I love how the funny and flirt work of Jessica Kagan Cushman of the Jessica Kagan Cushman Studio can be so reflective of such a wide variety of personality types and styles.  Not to mention, the amazing mixed metal pieces that she's doing now…Oh my gosh!  You. Will. Love. Them!

Jessica Kagan Cushman

1.  What prompted your passion for jewelry and jewelry design?
Both of my grandmothers loved jewelry and I definitely inherited my passion from them.  It skipped a generation because my mother rarely wore jewelry – she didn’t even wear a wedding ring!

Maybe the stack did skip a generation but we're not complaining!  This collection from her Candy Collection
is proof-positive that everything goes together!  Fabulousness, right here!

2.  What is your favorite piece or collection?
That changes practically every day but right now my favorite collection is the jeweled cuff grouping I’m making.  I’m using brightly colored stones and vintage pieces and then combining them with oxidized silver and gold.  They’re like candy!  And they look great stacked or mixed with other pieces.

From her new Candy Collection - This grouping of mixed metals bangles just sends me to the moon!
I completely adore this new bracelets from Jessica Kagan Cushman!  They have a fabulous earthy appeal to them!

3.  What would your perfect “jewelry day” involve / be like?
That’s easy…any day at the Tucson Gem Show is my perfect “jewelry day.”  I go every year and have to drag myself away while I still have a dollar or two to my name!  My favorite thing to do is root around in the smaller shows where people display their merchandise in their hotel rooms or patios – that’s where I usually find the best treasures.  I like to pause for a quick lunch (usually tamales bought from a food cart!) then back to treasure hunting.  There are dealers from all over the world in Tucson and their merchandise is amazing.

These mixed metals pendants - also from the Candy Collection - are on my "I-Must-Have-These" List!
Hint, hint to The Mr. - They look FABULOUS in a grouping like this!  You can't have just one!

4.  Thus far, what would you say is your proudest jewelry moment or memory?
I think it would have to be when my Nantucket bangles made the New York Times style section…that was pretty exciting.  Also, having my jewelry in the windows at Barney’s and Bergdorf Goodman wasn’t too bad either!

5.  Where do you find your greatest inspiration?
Literally everywhere – I see jewelry in trees, in shadows, in cloud shapes – but I also am very inspired by history.  There are so many amazing historical traditions that can be updated for today – like the scrimshaw that I adapted for my Nantucket bracelets.  

From my own personal collection, two of Jessica's Nantucket Bangles with two of
my favorite phrases, "Anything you say will be held against you" & "Lord, what fools these mortals be."

6.  In your personal wardrobe, do you find that you gravitate to one particular jewelry accessory (rings vs. necklace vs. bracelets vs. watches, etc.) more often than others?
I always prefer to wear bracelets and rings because I get to look at them – earrings and bracelets are for other people to see.  I still wear earrings and necklaces – all the time, but I love rings and bracelets best. 

7.  When putting together an outfit, how do you feel about mixing metals, designs and even new with vintage pieces?
I absolutely love to mix everything up – load it on is my motto.  More is more – less is a bore!  So much of my jewelry has a historic element to it that I think it works really well with vintage as well as modern pieces. 

Available in gold, silver & oxidized sterling silver, these forged cuffs are just ideal
for stacking!  Again, another must-have for the forward-thinking fashionista!

8.  Layering seems to be a trend that is here to stay, for now. What are your feelings on the layered look?  How do you like layered necklaces with layered bracelets plus layered rings? 
See question 7 above!  The more the merrier – I think layering is a great way for people to express themselves in a unique way!

Scrimshaw on fossilized mammoth ivory…Sheer perfection!  And, of course, the more the merrier!

9.  What advice would you give to budding jewelry designers? To budding fine jewelry collectors?
To jewelry designers, I would say always keep an eye on your bottom line.  It’s really easy to fall into the trap of wildly making gorgeous things only to discover when you’re done that the finished pieces will be too expensive for your market unless you sacrifice profit.  Also, try not to listen to the naysayers…they’re out there – ignore them.

To collectors, I would say buy pieces you love regardless of whether they’re important, or signed, high end or costume…then mix it all up!  And, buy jewelry books – when I first started collecting, if I had the urge to buy a piece of jewelry but couldn’t really afford it, I would indulge in a book instead.  I have a huge collection of jewelry books now and they’re the most fabulous source of inspiration and information.

Flash Question - Dream trip destination?
Definitely Jaipur, India!

Perfect for stacking!  You can not go wrong with any one of Jessica's designs!

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